Last Stop in Brooklyn
By Lawrence H. Levy
“It’s the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man’s brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it’s up to Mary to make right the city’s wrongs.”
I wish that I could tell you I loved this book. All of the mystery, murder, retro elements are there for me and, by all right, I should have fallen in love with this story. I did not. The descriptions went overboard, the story seemed bland, and the dialogue left me cringing. I rated this a 2 stars and have happily left it behind.
*I was sent this book free of charge by blogging for books*
As most of you know by now, I have a delightfully sassy little girl. Last time I was looking through Blogging for Books’ list of available titles, she excitedly exclaimed that I HAD TO GET the book on drawing sea creatures FOR HER. Well, how can you say no to that? (Especially when there really weren’t any other books I wanted to look at)
When the book arrived at our home, she immediately wiggled out of nap time and into art time, and the two artists in my family (my mother and the tiny one) are absolutely enamored with this simple, easy to follow drawing book. They even convince me to give it a go and I made a halfway decent piece of kelp (NOT as easy as you would think!) We give this book 4 out of 5 sea dragons and recommend that you go check it out!
The Book Doctor, Dinty W. Moore, has created this book in order to help authors break through writer’s block, rearrange stumbling blocks into creative staircases, and basically just fix whatever ails ya…or your book. As a professor of writing, and an author himself, Moore as spent years coming up with ‘diagnoses’ and ‘prescriptions’ for all sorts of common (and not quite so common) author ailments, and lays them out with charming witticisms and blunt truths. This book is a great read for authors in all phases of their walks through words.
I give it 4.5 out 5 Stars and encourage anyone who writes or thinks they might want to give it a whirl to pick up a copy.
*I was sent this book by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review. All opinions cited in this review are my own.*
Summary: Astie has always been different. Her 12th birthday is looming and she still has not decided on her thesis. All the Learners at the Hub picked theirs years ago. If it wasn’t for her cousin, Jakob, life would be unbearable on Elemental Island. On the verge of being diagnosed with Social Syndrome, she stumbles upon Danny who has landed in a forbidden flight machine….(continued here)
Age Level: Middle Grade (ages 8-13)
Genre: Adventure (with low level Sci-Fi feels)
Pages: 224 (hardcover)
Published: December 2015 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
This book is a celebration of differences. In a world where everyone loves logic, order, and alone time, main character Astie is on the verge of turning 12 with no scientific thesis to obsess over and an enjoyment of spending time with people, and hugs, that is going to get her shunned as having what is known as Social Syndrome. Of course, Astie winds up saving the day. But I will leave it to you to discover just how she does it.
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a quick read, coming in at only a few hours in one of my days to read it, but the storyline has stuck with me. The world Ms. Hoopmann created is a logical, scientific narrative of what an island full of fully functioning autistic humans might be like. They are secluded. They are safe. They have no contact with an outside world, because there isn’t one (as far as they know). They like it that way, and if anyone starts being too social, or illogical, or touchy feely. Well they might have to be retrained. This flip-flop of what we normally see in books made me happy and excited to read on. I really liked the interactions between our main character and her family and friends. They were written true to how someone with non-neurotypical tendencies might speak and react, which I really appreciated.
This book earned 3.5 dragons from me. Go check it out.
Summary: In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…(more here)
Published: 2014 Ace
I’m not going to lie to you here. I requested to review this book (from Blogging for Books) because of the cover. If you’ve been around awhile, you probably already know of my obsessions with owls. Well…that explains that right? It probably wouldn’t have mattered what the book was about, honestly. However, I have happy to report that it turned out to be a fabulous historical fiction/fantasy novel.
This book delights with a beautiful mixture of historical fiction and magical elements, adventuresome bits and slow romance, and some strong leads of both female and male variety. The scholarship and work of magic delights me to no end, and Ms. Hunter’s work here is no exception. Well done, delightful, and interesting.
This book gets a 4 out of 5 dragons. If you enjoy adventure, fantasy, and historical fiction all rolled into one very European bundle, I suggest you go grab your very own copy and give it a read.
In a Different Key: The story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker was so much more than, and yet also exactly, what I though it would be. I wanted, needed, to know the history of this developmental difference and what this book provided was a history richly woven together in a well written, entertaining narrative that kept me engaged and learning throughout the massive book.
The narrative writing style almost lets the reader imagine that this is not the factual history of a vastly misunderstood mental anomaly, but instead some sort of historical novel to dive in to. The beginning story of the first (known) autistic child is interesting entertaining, and heart wrenching…and the book doesn’t slow down after that.
I give this book a 4 out of 5 dragons. If you’re looking to know more about autism, I definitely reccommend this work!
*I was provided this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review*
Written for Middle Grade Readers (Ages 7-12/Grades 3-6), this book is an origin story, a fable, a history, a drama, a family tale, and much more. In this adorable story we meet and follow a boy who grows up to be Father Christmas.
I read this via the audiobook (provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review) and the story is amazing, grabs you right off the bat and keeps you in its grips…and the narrations by Stephen Fry are so spot on it feels like the smoothest and most natural thing in the world.
There are some difficult issues addressed within the folds of this story: loss of parents, extreme poverty, and violence…but along with that are the trappings of Finnish mythology, the impossibilities of life, and magic (LOTS of magic!).
I am not the biggest fan of Christmas stories, they often seem to be formulaic and cheesy as all get out. This is not one of those stories. This is an adventure, a fable, a legend in the making. This is a story to listen to every year, for all the years. Haig has created a story with a life of its own, and I loved it.
4.75 dragons (stars) to this beautifully written phenomenon.
The Curse of Crow Hollow
By Billy Coffey
Published in 2015
Thomas Nelson Publishing
With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.
Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.
“Coffey spins a wicked tale . . . [The Curse of Crow Hollow] blends folklore, superstition, and subconscious dread in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’”
I picked this up on Christmas Day, when I was in the mood for a thriller that would sweep me through the story and send tingles up and down my spine. Unfortunately, this was not that type of book. The narrator’s voice was confusing and wandered back and forth in time on a few occasions. The story meandered and took until 3/4 of the way through to really pick up and get exciting. I did, however, enjoy the look at small town beliefs and the type of people who inhabit such places and beliefs.
While the story is slow and slightly confusing at times, I did enjoy the journey and give this an overall rating of 3.25 dragons. If you like books dealing with secrets, lies, and demons…this is something you might want to pick up!
This cloth bound, silver foiled, illustrated edition of Hans Christian Anderson’s timeless tale is even more beautiful than I expected it to be. The tall, skinny hardback feels gorgeous in your hand and the illustrations by Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka create an atmosphere that combines with the beloved words into something that will stick with you.
Published by Ten Speed Press, translated by Odense City Museums, this book brings to life the classic story of The Snow Queen with imagery that makes me feel a part of the story, and reminds me of the ancient picture book edition my mother no longer allows me to play with. Five out of five Dragons to this gorgeous book.
*I received the book in exchange for an honest review from blogging for books*
This short, illustrated book of idioms from around the world includes a description of each word’s etymology, origin, and meaning for both the language of origin and English terms. The descriptions by Ella Frances Sanders are well done and interesting, but the illustrations steal the show! If you enjoy learning about word play, idioms from other languages, or just fun trivia you should definitely check out this book!
5 out of 5 dragons to this little knowledge fest.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review*